Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

Yasmine – Pega nha mon

“Hold My Hand” — we’re going to the sidebar…


[Video]
[8.50]

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: This song is as close as we can get to the complete fulfillment of kizomba’s emotional and sonic potential. “Pega nha mon” is one of those once-in-a-year tracks where everything aligns; everything just fits perfectly, from the main acoustic guitar riff to the flute flourishes. Even the organic percussion, underlined by the tresillo claves, is mixed at just the right levels, especially in the choruses, never feeling invasive or cluttered. But of course, this show is all about the stellar vocals and melodies of Yasmine. The singer’s reputation as one of kizomba’s most romantic melodists is perfectly justified by the song’s themes of love and marriage — wonderfully illustrated by the Guinean leba cabaz wedding ritual in the video — but most importantly, by the sheer sense of wonder evoked by the pre-chorus refrains. When she reaches the end of that two-part hook with the titular phrase, it leaves you gasping for air. Her silky, zouk-influenced tone has worked to great effect before, but when it’s combined with the acoustic instruments, especially that flute in the second chorus-bridge transition, it covers you with its warmth. It feels like a tender embrace.
[10]

Leah Isobel: There’s a slight but clear tension between Yasmine’s emotive, flowing vocal and the sharp rhythmic lines drawn by the instruments. As the song tilts into its chorus, the layers stack onto each other like they’re going to explode. They… don’t. But then, the flute (the flute!!!!!) enters, twirling around above her. It releases the tension like a laugh, it’s warm like sunshine; it’s love as a waveform.
[8]

Juana Giaimo: “Pega nha mon” is the kind of song that makes it look easy. But when you listen to it more carefully you realize it’s full of beautiful details — the really soft strum of the acoustic guitar, the lovely flute, the bongos in the background and of course Yasmine’s vocals that flow incredibly effortlessly, with a cadence that reminds me of a bachata. As someone who has always been too aware about her body, this song makes me feel I could close my eyes, dance and forget about it.
[8]

Ian Mathers: I love those little flute flourishes in the back; they and the dry snare rim snaps along with the acoustic guitar and Yasmine’s vocals give “Pega nha mon” a pleasingly light, airy feel. Not lightweight, thankfully, just the kind of low-key lovely you might not consciously notice at first but that might get stuck in your head.
[7]

Dorian Sinclair: “Pega nha mon” has a gorgeously flowing shape, with the voice, guitar, and flute all braiding together for a whole greater than any of its component parts. Which is not to say those components don’t excel — Yasmine’s singing, in particular, is just so expressive. I particularly love the way she leans into the title phrase, but her conversational delivery throughout is so great at giving direction and momentum to those long, meandering vocal lines.
[8]

Nortey Dowuona: The flutter in Yasmine Carvalho’s voice is so beautiful it could shatter your heart by itself. Fortunately, she is with a curlicue guitar and softly laid drums sweeping your heart off its feet, with the heaving bass quietly painting the walls alongside the lilting flutes, encasing you in the love. Turn this up even in the bad earbuds you have and prepare to be swept away.
[10]

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

Ghost – Hunter’s Moon

Spooky.


[Video]
[6.00]

Al Varela: Hiring Ghost to make a song for the upcoming Halloween reboot is such an inspired choice I feel like if they went with anyone else it would have been a huge mistake. “Hunter’s Moon” has the exact balance of menace and camp that makes horror movies like Halloween so nostalgic. I smile every time I hear that goofy little title drop followed by a shredding guitars solo.
[8]

Tim de Reuse: It’s not just kitsch, it’s a collage of kitsch, flitting from one sonic realm to another, enthusiastic about each idea for a few bars at a time before getting bored of it, leaving no lasting impression other than of a general exuberance. But it is very exuberant, throwing itself completely into each little idea that crosses its mind — just listen to that choir, or that piano in the bridge, or those adorable growls of “Hun-ter’s Moon,” straight from a Cartoon Network Halloween special!  I am glad that this kind of silly, lovingly rendered passion project exists, even though its vibe is too sickly-sweet for me to ever put on heavy rotation.
[6]

Oliver Maier: I’ve heard very good things about Ghost and very bad things about the new Halloween movie. Given the humourless state of modern horror I’m shocked that this was allowed to be the tie-in song, but I’m delighted it shook out this way because it’s charming, earnest fun. He literally says “I’m dying to see you” like he’s a funny vampire. Come on.
[7]

John S. Quinn-Puerta: If they would ditch the artifice and stick to the proggy bits, I might enjoy this. But the flanger and the too-busy drums make this a messy nightmare, and that’s without even discussing the weakness of Tobias Forge’s vocal style. 
[4]

Ian Mathers: Do rock bros still care about guitars vs. synthesizers? Because honestly you could tell me the lead riff here was made by either and I’d believe you. Either way it’s kind of impressive how weenie they make it sound. It’s like the kind of shitty horror movie where it’s got all the signifiers of something that supposed to be dreadful/impressive/upsetting/something, but fails to actually animate any of those signifiers so that it’s horror (or, with the song, metal) in the most nominal sense only. Huh. Wonder why that comparison popped into my head.
[3]

Nortey Dowuona: The churning guitars sliding above the shaky drums are so easy to smash, that you can’t lean in too close, so you have to ease back. Tobias Forge is a superb howler, spitting the rage of a fervent hunter, leading the rest of his crew to lift their forks, and they toss down their instruments to hunt.
[7]

Edward Okulicz: The overblown nature of a lot of hard rock has a kitsch element to it that’s well understood, but not often well deployed. A single from a horror franchise is definitely using the mix of butch/camp for its noblest purpose. It’s probably too pop to really slash, but that just makes it more like an action movie than a horror one, and I don’t find horror movies scary anyway.
[7]

Alfred Soto: This is silly, transcendentally silly, down to that can-you-hear-me-New-Jersey guitar riff. I don’t hear this sort of silliness on the charts often, though, so I’ll forgive the vocals, which sound like Postal Service singing over James Hetfield. 
[6]

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Ashnikko – Panic Attacks in Paradise

Oh, we found out…


[Video]
[5.00]

Alfred Soto: How many demographics can one act target with one single? Let’s find out!
[4]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: I hear Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, and Katy Perry, but most of all Ashnikko. This type of hybrid between the guitar-strummed early 2000s and the auto tuned, depressive zeitgeist of 2021 is a good look for them. 
[7]

Katherine St Asaph: There are about 40 different things I might expect an Extremely Online pop artist to sound like these days. None of them are “What’s Up.” From Linda Perry it’s one more step to Pink, who in her prime (i.e. before she started sounding like OneRepublic’s guidance counselor) owned this kind of wryly angsty, highly hooky confessional. But where Alecia’s songwriting voice was unpolished and unapologetic, Ashnikko’s — for all their blown-out vocals and trolly photoshoots — is calculated poise. That’s not a bad thing. Nothing on Missundaztood — the title alone is worlds away in earnestness — was packed this full of perfect pithy phrases, from “panic attacks in paradise” on down.
[7]

Oliver Maier: We’re at a point where it is no longer just acceptable but nigh-expected for musicians to spill the beans about their mental health on record. Scarcely a major album cycle passes now without an invocation of therapy and/or trauma in the lyrics or press. Whether this has done anything to tangibly improve the wellbeing either of these singers or their audiences is a mystery to me, but we must at least acknowledge that its direct qualitative impact on popular music has been boring fucking songs filled with clunky, painfully literal lyrics. Surely the kids deserve better.
[3]

Andrew Karpan: If I were a striving, misunderstood soundcloud David Bowie, I think I would also probably put out my own touching take on “‘Delete Forever’ vibes” around about now too.
[5]

Katie Gill: I say this with all the love in the world, but do you know that feeling when you hear a song, listen to the lyrics, and you realize “ah, this person spent a decent chunk of their teenage years on Tumblr”? This is very much the sort of sad-girl alt-pop type of music that post-Younger Now Miley Cyrus and early Halsey helped pioneer and shape. It’s catchy, it’s fun, and it’s precisely the sort of song that teenagers will quote in their social media profile and make semi-joking semi-serious memes about. (Tag yourself, I’m ‘sucker for a little devastation.’)
[6]

Alex Clifton: It’s the least irritating song I’ve heard from Ashnikko yet (I’m still haunted by the “hentai boobies” line in “Sleepover”), but it’s not exactly enjoyable. I applaud Ashnikko for taking a more vulnerable approach to mental health–it’s been great to see a lot of younger artists doing this. But at the same time, you gotta make it interesting, dude. At least “Sleepover,” cursed as its lyrics are, sticks in my head.
[2]

Ian Mathers: At least in previous appearances she went “red hot like a demon”. Here she’s just the Lana Del Rey of Olivia Rodrigos (or vice versa).
[5]

Nortey Dowuona: When the Barbie impression echoes through the guitar drift, it makes me more depressed than any of the anguished lyrics wrung out by Ashnikko’s keening voice. There’s nothing but looped bass plates and a lonesome coo, so the lyrics just hang there, hovering above your open mouth, as you wait for the boom to drop. You die waiting.
[6]

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Shouse – Love Tonight

Not our favourite example of this sgenre..


[Video]
[5.12]

Andrew Karpan: What if all I needed was your love tonight — a suggestion that David Guetta elevates to the center of a four year-old Australian dance record, supercharging its hollow chanting to illuminate a summer of dancing worriedly. With a kind of crass knowing, the French DJ throws out the intricate horns and whistles, the ominous atmosphere, and most of Shouse’s effort at delivering us the perplexing, self-aware “Blue Monday” that we might have deserved all those years ago. It is no doubt interesting that the duo had contemplated the track initially as an ironic send-up of “those insane 80s celebrity Bandaid/We are the World spectaculars,” an element that comes complete with a chorus of random Melbourne dance scenesters whose frozen voices now hang like big party balloons over a festival of love they could never imagine.
[4]

Oliver Maier: The inexplicable glut of remixes this thing has received vary dramatically in quality (for my money the Guetta is the most worthwhile), but it’s not hard to see why it failed to make waves on its own. A pitiful baby’s-first-drum-machine loop and sloppy little woodwind flourishes suggest Shouse heard someone else doing it and were like “write that down.” The motley crew of Melbourne musicians on vocals sound bad cosplaying house divas and worse when they blend into the chorus. There is appreciation and understanding of dance music here, but I don’t hear love.
[2]

Edward Okulicz: This song has been kicking around for a few years, but you can see how in 2021 a series of punchier remixes might fit the zeitgeist. The choir of voices over house music is an interesting trick, although it’s not especially well executed. The song should fly at the chorus, should bring the listener into a feeling of rapturous togetherness on the dancefloor, but instead it’s emotionless and flat. The verses reach for loftier emotional heights and do better as you can hear something in the solos, but everyone here is shown up by a saxophone.
[5]

Tim de Reuse: Big, feathery clouds of vocals over a winding, resonant bass loop; it ain’t much, but it knows exactly what it wants to be, and there are enough layers in those “oohs” to slip into the vibe for four minutes. Once you’ve got that core dopamine circuit, what else do you do? Prepend some sax solos off in the distance and a relay race of solo parts for a dangling little appendix of a verse? There are worse ways to frame a near-perfect four-measure hook, but the attempt at providing a pop structure underneath it all feels like it’s provided out of obligation.
[6]

Katherine St Asaph: Has that half-assed Walserian charm, then that half-assed quotidian beat.
[3]

Nortey Dowuona: I’ve heard this every day I’ve worked this year. It has been both eerie and fantastic every time. There’s a very frightening horror movie that should use this in a club scene.
[8]

Scott Mildenhall: Unlike too many of the charity ensembles from which they’ve taken inspiration, Shouse’s Melbourne collective sound thoroughly like a collective. There’s a warmth to “Love Tonight” that probably does come from its performers singing from the same hymn sheet. Indeed, their woozy chorus, paired with the woozy gloomwobble, makes for something faintly mystical. From where did this love cult spring, and where are they going? The answer: “oooooooooooo.”
[7]

Leah Isobel: The harmonies are a nice idea — the plurality of the dancefloor, literalized — and they sound pretty, but it feels like Shouse didn’t know what to do with the multiple-vocalists conceit outside of the chorus. Having individual vocalists trade off lines can work in a group that’s designed around it, but it’s clear in the verses that these singers aren’t usually put together. They’re all competing with each other to build and emote in a small space. That dynamic keeps the song from feeling too personal or vulnerable, which in turn limits its power. One of the joys of dance music is that the connection it proposes can be taken in any number of directions: sexual, romantic, platonic, religious, utopian. “Love Tonight” only really aims for the latter. It strains so hard to be universal that it reduces its scope.
[6]

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Central Cee – Obsessed With You

We, on the other hand, are seeing right through you like you’re bathing in Windex…


[Video]
[3.00]

Edward Okulicz: Low effort, in that if Central Cee had released this 10 years ago, his peers would have written three times the number of rhymes, of three times better in quality, and honestly, the reward is low too. I can’t even bring myself to say “this is bad,” because nothing Cee does lasts long enough to have an impression. This is a pretty good showcase for someone else’s record.
[3]

Oliver Maier: I want to take a moment first to appreciate that it is objectively very funny that a song by noted plunderphonic scamp PinkPantheress (albeit a fully homegrown one, in this case) has been flipped into another hit record within mere months of its release and then another moment to appreciate that, poetically enough, her track carries the new one on its little UKG shoulders. Cee does not do a damn thing to make this worth listening to over the original.
[3]

Katherine St Asaph: Genres and sounds are diffusing faster and faster from niche to mainstream, URL to IRL. Which means that it only took about a year or two before hyperpop-adjacent hooks like this started to sound boring.
[4]

Alfred Soto: Mixing a post-Grimes vocal and the Doja Cat approach may produce “Obsessed with You,” but listeners may wonder why anyone would matter.
[3]

Ian Mathers: Nothing says “I’m grown” like saying “I’m done with these bitches”, am I right?
[2]

Mark Sinker: As a twitter gag, But I’m different is a mocking, self-destructing boast: a claim that you alone wouldn’t be caught out the way everyone else would be. Central Cee’s shtick seems to be “Yes, usually people are right not to admire person who’s a prick — but I’m different“, or in translation, “ME? I’m the arse hole you should admire.” Which is kinda different I guess, though nothing else about this is. 
[3]

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Snail Mail – Valentine

Sent the old-fashioned way…


[Video]
[7.29]

Jeffrey Brister: Snail Mail gets her Widescreen Moment. It feels like the sonic equivalent of a film starting in 4:3, and suddenly breaks into a lush 16:9 ratio, where the colors bloom, the picture sharpens, and the entire scene explodes into vivid detail. It’s a thrilling shock of cold air when that first chorus bursts in, Lindsay Jordan holding steady in the maelstrom of sound happening around her. Just an intoxicating blend of midwest-emo, arena rock, and bleary chillwavey synths. This is the exact thing I wanted.
[10]

Nina Lea: “Valentine” is young love in 2021. Falling for someone under the watchful gaze of the panopticon (“Those parasitic cameras, don’t they stop to stare at you?”). The belief that eight weeks is a lifetime (“You won’t believe what just two months do/I’m older now”). Lindsey Jordan, the 22-year-old prodigy behind Snail Mail, creates lyrics with the deft wisdom of a practiced songwriter but still makes those teenage days and hours snap back to life for me with her power-pop wail: I’m back on my childhood twin bed in agony and bliss, all of it pulsing with the undercurrent of “I adore you, I adore you, I adore you.”
[9]

Alfred Soto: The crunchy faster second half of “Valentine” is the angsty section, a necessary head clearer. The “I adore you coda” feels earned.
[6]

John S. Quinn-Puerta: This chorus was made to shake stadiums, so why does the verse feel so tepid and out of sync? The outro, at least, gets it right. 
[6]

Oliver Maier: I feel compelled to try and appreciate the disjointedness here but the verses aren’t working for me. I don’t need to hear Jordan mumble over plaintive synths to find her profound, and as much as they might elevate the chorus by comparison, she’s written better hooks before (and since).
[5]

Andrew Karpan: The first minute is droll and barely there, the saddest clouds hanging over the fading night sky, a subject that interests Jordan for just about as long as it does me, which is why when the balm-like recognizable rush of the chorus hits, it feels both like the best stuff from 2018’s Lush, but also suddenly awaited for and then earned. The success of these gestures comes, generally, from the fact that her voice remains perfect for it, as even her hearts brakes in observational verse.
[8]

Ian Mathers: How long, or how much, does it take to turn love into a bruise?
[7]

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Let’s Eat Grandma – Hall of Mirrors

Peering down a corridor to album number three…


[Video]
[6.75]
Vikram Joseph: An impressionist blur of coruscating synth and vertiginous romance — the kind that, already, feels almost effortless to this band. Let’s Eat Grandma songs feel like those dreams that you wake dazed and melancholic from: slightly warped, a little disorientating, but suffused with an sense of erratic possibility that evades us in our waking hours. You could criticise “Hall Of Mirrors” for failing to justify its five-minute runtime as unequivocally as the shape-shifting, skyscraping “Falling Into You” did. But if it settles for a more modest brand of rapture, that’s fine; at this point I’m just happy to inhabit their nocturnal world again.
[8]

Ian Mathers: No matter how (emotionally) apocalyptic Donnie Darko was, the brute fact is after a moment, a night, a week, a year like that, you wake up the next day and things just… keep going. If there are regrets, angst, etc., etc., they modulate a little into something more complicated or hard to express. In one sense you know yourself, what you want, your surroundings, your relationships, better than you did before, but frustratingly it can be at least partly in the sense of realizing the unfathomability of things. You’re no longer standing there wishing you could take back words, but nothing feels as easy or simple as it used to, even if it hurts less. “Someone tell me how I’m gonna work this out… and I thought of you.” You can see more at once in a hall of mirrors, but it doesn’t necessarily help you understand, or even give you an undistorted view. Nothing to do but hold hands and it’ll happen anyway.
[8]

Aaron Bergstrom: As far as adjectives go, “dizzying” is particularly versatile. It can easily be positive or negative. The dawn of a new relationship can be dizzying (the euphoric headrush of infatuation, the mind projecting infinite possibility into the future), but so can the dissolution of an existing relationship (the queasy vertigo of suddenly living in a world different from the one you thought you had built). Dizzying speed, dizzying choice, dizzying potential, dizzying change. Over the five-plus minutes that make up “Hall of Mirrors,” Let’s Eat Grandma seems to hit on the nuance of every slightly different usage as our protagonist struggles to find her bearings, both in her own head and in the world around her. Through it all, one phrase consistently resolves all that swirling dizziness: “I thought of you.”
[8]

Andrew Karpan: Glow-pop that gleams so hard, it causes the eyes to wince and, occasionally, squint. When the disco-flattened horn squeaked around the record with the comfort of a rubber band, I felt suddenly nostalgic for falling in love for the first time too, i.e. “the moment in time when our shadows collided,” as the pair put it here. Sonic gestures like this feel like they registered as “indie” a decade ago, but have been appropriated slowly now into the wider idea of pop, which is anything you can put on while getting out to go just about anywhere.
[7]

Mark Sinker: Sprinkled fragments in the background mainly remind me how much more I always wanted from the whole psychedelic swirlpop world than I ever really got, as if the blocks and columns and rods and chains of pretty song-shaping harmony could just be dust-devilled off into pure sweet shapeless noise. It’s nice enough I guess, but it isn’t what it could be.
[5]

Dorian Sinclair: When I was in high school, my choir director once got very irritated with me. I’d been messing around with the piano in the music room, but I didn’t really know how to use the sustain pedal appropriately. I would hold it down for bars at a time, so that chords which should have been crisp and distinct instead blurred into an undifferentiated mass, drowning out any nuance or variation that would otherwise be present in the piece of music I was playing. Hadn’t thought about that in ages, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that I’m remembering it now.
[4]

Oliver Maier: Rosa Walton, heir to Lorde’s snarled enunciation, shares also that quality of sounding suspicious of her own hopefulness, tentatively unravelling a new feeling across a constellation of snowglobe moments. Yet she is betrayed by the music’s restraint. The throbbing, swelling beat is obviously purposeful but not compelling in and of itself, and her melodies stop short of communicating the weight of her infatuation. It’s all a tad too placid, too trapped in its own reflection. Side note: If that’s a real saxophonist and not a MIDI keyboard, then they need to not be let near a reed again.
[5]

Leah Isobel: The heavy delay on the synths feels a little forbidding at first — like auditory haze, it obscures the song’s content and competes with the vocal and percussion. It’s not until the first pre-chorus that the fog clears and the images come into focus: “I’m cold to the bone in this lonely town/Somebody tell me how I’m gonna work this out.” But that clarity turns out to be a trick. When the most real, tangible image comes in the chorus — “you linked through my fingers/and followed me into the hall of mirrors” — that heavy, foggy delay surges back, and the more it repeats the more it feels comforting and warm. On their last record, Let’s Eat Grandma figured haze as something that a loved one would cut through like a knife, an individual experience that they wanted to be rid of. On “Hall of Mirrors,” though, haze is entropic, swarming everything and warping experience into an impressionistic collage. Even the sax, which calls back to another song obsessed with contrast of haze and clarity, feels surreal and blurred; it doesn’t offer a physical ground so much as it harmonizes with the uncertainty. But its warmth shows me that that dissolution, that haze, isn’t scary. It’s what makes the moment when someone traces a line across your memory important. It’s what it means to be alive.
[9]

Sunday, October 17th, 2021

Bonus Tracks for Week Ending October 17, 2021

Friday, October 15th, 2021

RÜFÜS DU SOL – On My Knees

The score will not prevent this subhead being What’s the [4.11]?


[Video][Website]
[5.12]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: I get why these guys have played every festival in the world. This stuff is perfect for the 5:30 lull before the people you’re really there to see go on.
[5]

Scott Mildenhall: An unexpected notion: this would be better if Alex Clare were singing it. In fact, it would be improved by quite a lot of people. Tyrone Lindqvist fails to fully handle the more melodic moments, left sounding like a well-connected national celebrity who has inserted himself into Eurovision. Are the elephant noises intentionally bathetic? It’s worth leaving that a mystery — the heady mix of proficient po-facedness and unclear conception of cliché makes this morning lemon entertaining.
[6]

Edward Okulicz: Most of what’s going on in “On My Knees” works until the chorus, which has too much blarting horn preset, elephant noise and weirdo backing vocals to sit right. Would have made more of a splash in 2000 than 2021 (maybe it’s just that the bit after the second chorus reminds me of “Everything In Its Right Place,” but it reminds me of it in a good way). It’s like the ostensible seriousness is being sabotaged by some kind of weirdo ironic artsy tendency to put in ear-grabbing sound effects rather than have a fully ear-grabbing song.
[5]

Oliver Maier: The vocals have a Kiedis-esque warble to them which I quite like in isolation, but which deflates the erotic menace that “On My Knees” is gunning for. That in conjunction with the whoopee cushion beat leaves this sounding like boneless New Order.
[5]

Alfred Soto: The stirrings of a solid dance track get undermined by an ill-chosen vocal performance. Even masochism needs forethought.
[5]

Nortey Dowuona: The chattering bass is so frigid that the chanting synths rush back into their cave. Tyrone’s voice carries across their wind, drawing a team of sled kicks, marshaled by a howling vocal with a brief twinkling of synths. The snares follow, carrying Tyrone onto the sled so the kicks can rush him back, his howling vocal wrapping him tight. As they mush on, the twisted words and tipping synths duel in the sky until the howling vocal sends a cry up to them, cracking open as the sled kicks and pursuing snares fly off the snow and upwards, allowing Tyrone to sit up and see the spinning synth aurora borealis.
[8]

Ian Mathers: I like a dark ‘n chunky synth possibly even more than the next person, but after a very promising beginning it was kind of weird to get the vocals we do here. It just feels — and this is my absolute gut reaction, not sure it totally makes sense — like Giles from Buffy is singing or something. Not bad vocals, just a little out of place.
[6]

Tim de Reuse: The instrumental is inoffensive, if you can stand the way it keeps building into anticlimaxes before celebrating the energy it failed to bring. But the vocals — dear god, the vocals — so dead-behind-the-eyes, so flat, so text-to-speech, they make me physically itch. Perhaps I would be less harsh if they were not processed in such a way that the word “knees” gets a terrible strain to it every time he hits that modest peak in the melody; or, perhaps I wouldn’t mind it if the melody itself weren’t so one-dimensional in its evocation of the minor key and nothing else. If you’ve absolutely got to center an entire track around a lyrical and melodic hook that a sitcom writer would compose for a dull parody of Nine Inch Nails, could you maybe find some other things to repeat?
[1]

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Jamie Miller – Here’s Your Perfect

And here’s your panning…


[Video]
[2.89]

Alex Clifton: Your perfect what? What’s perfect, Jamie???? This song isn’t good enough to let him get away with using “perfect” as a noun.
[3]

Aaron Bergstrom: In his 2017 run to the finals of The Voice UK, Miller performed six songs, which the Jukebox had previously scored as follows: [3.00][3.82][4.25][4.60][5.36], and [6.64]. As “Here’s Your Perfect” seems like it was written specifically to be performed at future televised singing competitions, those are the benchmarks it should be judged against, and in that context it actually comes off pretty well: the melancholy bounce of the pre-chorus adds just enough change of pace, it builds to a passable climax, and the whole thing is over in under three minutes.
[5]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: The type of overwrought, submersible, market-tested anthem™ that could only be conjured by reality TV singing competitions.
[3]

Ian Mathers: Hmm. Think I might have figured out why they wanted to leave, dude.
[3]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Frankly cannot imagine anyone listening to this willingly and intentionally. A complete void of conveyable emotion or musical excitement.
[0]

Tim de Reuse: Sometimes you want your breakup to feel like the twist ending on a season finale, so you tell subtlety to leave the room for a minute, and under those circumstances all this blustery instrumentation is perfectly justified. The excess of Miller’s performance is a different type of over-performance that does not work nearly as well with the subject matter. Every little creak and whimper in his voice feels manicured, every tender little gasp rehearsed, whine so over-tuned it reads as cynical and calculated: a Jenna Maroney sadness. I don’t expect performers to actually be going through heartbreak every time they open their mouths, but I expect them to convince me to suspend my disbelief a little!
[3]

Nortey Dowuona: The clinking piano behind Jamie’s thin, static voice limply thuds as Jamie strains and yelps, while the lopsided, barely on tempo drums lurch behind. Then it ends.
[3]

Scott Mildenhall: Quite literally taking notes from Julia Michaels as much as the whole canon of Clintons Cards elegies, Jamie Miller proffers a nevertheless soft-edged proposition. To his credit, the six diverse rhymes before the chorus are the mark of a craftsman, and he’s on top of the fundamental trick: making the moment momentous. It’s the conceptual crystallisation of an identifiable anguish — but also quite boring.
[5]

Alfred Soto: An Earth-3 Olly Alexander, doomed to play Ne-Yo tracks for the girlfriend he can’t love.
[1]